Rangers can’t clinch, fall to OttawaApril 6, 2014, by
The Rangers blew a golden opportunity to clinch a playoff spot last night, falling to the Ottawa Senators by a score of 3-2. Robin Lehner was the difference maker for the Sens, stopping 41 shots, including seven shot attempts in the final three minutes to keep the Rangers from getting that nice “X” next to their name in the standings. Lehner was the difference, but a slow start by the Rangers put them in a 2-0 hole at the end of the first.
Mats Zuccarello, or “The Magician,” as Joe wants to call him, kept the game interesting with two deflection goals in the second, but the Rangers couldn’t solve Lehner or a Sens team that has some defensive problems. Alain Vigneault mentioned there is sometimes a let down after returning from a western road trip. The Rangers sure did open the game in a manner that let themselves down.
On to the goals:
Sens 1, Rangers 0
Before Zucc tried to jump the passing lane between Chris Phillips and Clarke MacArthur, Benoit Pouliot blew a tire in the offensive zone. Zucc’s miss (picture above) left him completely out of position and gave the Sens a mini 3-on-2 rush at the blue line. MacArthur carried the puck in and found Mark Stone in the slot for a pretty easy goal.
Derick Brassard was a bit lazy on his backcheck on Phillips, but Kyle Turris is the one that drew Kevin Klein’s attention away from Stone by cutting to the net (picture above). That distraction allowed for Stone to have enough time to tee up a nice wrist shot that beat Hank top-corner. Stone was Pouliot’s man, but he blew the tire and couldn’t get back in time.
Sens 2, Rangers 0
Pouliot simply cheated a bit too far to the point on the face off. This left a lane to the slot open for Mika Zibanejad when he picked up the puck after the face off win. Like Stone, Zibanejad had all day to tee up a shot from a short distance.
Rangers 1, Sens 2
Piggy backing off Joe’s markup, the circle up top was left wide open once Zucc went to the boards to get to the puck after the face off. Zucc got the puck to John Moore at the point for a blast. The shot was deflected by Zucc with Brassard providing the screen.
Sens 3, Rangers 1
The Rangers were simply unable to clear the defensive zone, twice failing to get it past the blue line. A point shot from Erik Karlsson on one of these blocks got through to Henrik Lundqvist, but it led to a scramble in front. Hank thought he had the puck covered, but from the picture above, you can see that it’s not actually covered. Jason Spezza was able to poke the puck through for the goal.
Rangers 2, Sens 3
Brass won an offensive zone face off, getting the puck to Zucc while he cut to the net. Zucc tried to hit Brass in the slot, but the puck went back to Marc Staal at the point while Zucc circled to the front of the net. The shot from the point was deflected by Zucc for the goal.
It wasn’t a puck possession domination game by any means, but the last three minutes saw seven shot attempts that did not go. The Rangers wound up finishing with a 54% Fenwick-For advantage and a 53% Fenwick-Close advantage. Lehner was the difference maker here.
Win Expectancy Chart:
This is one of the more interesting charts, if only for the roller coaster ride that it looks like. Again, this based off the score, time remaining, and home/away.
The Rangers let one slip away from them, and blew a golden chance to clinch. The magic numbers as of this morning:
- Clinch playoffs: 1
- Clinch non-wild card spot: 4
- Clinch home-ice in first round against Flyers: 6